Update 12 p.m. Though many outlets have cited WITN and WAVY's coverage of Griffith's death, and The Charlotte Observer confirmed his death with their own sources, ABC News is reporting that Griffith's representatives have not confirmed his death and ABC News has not confirmed his condition.
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Original: Andy Griffith, a television legend, died in his home this morning according to close friend and former University of North Carolina President Bill Friday. Friday told WITN News that the 86-year-old television icon died around 7 a.m. this morning, while WAVY-TV confirms that emergency medical crew responded to Griffith's home in Roanoke Island this morning. WAVY also explains that Griffith's secretary had called Friday with the news of Griffith's death. No cause of death has been reported yet, though USA Today mentions that in 2000 Griffith underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery.
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Griffith, an only child, was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina on June 1 1926, and was, is, and always will be an entertainment icon. The 86-year-old was an actor, director, producer, and even has a Grammy award to his name, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom which he received from George W. Bush in 2005.
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It's television where Griffith made his indelible mark. Griffith was best known for The Andy Griffith Show which debuted in 1960 and ran for eight seasons, where he played an eccentric sheriff in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Despite the show's success, Griffith never earned an Emmy nomination for his role, though he finally earned one in 1981 for a TV movie, Murder in Texas.
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Director Ron Howard, who starred on The Andy Griffith Show playing Griffith's son, told Deadline Hollywood that Griffith "has not been well for some time." Adding:
His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around. The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. It was always with respect and passion for the opportunity and really what it could offer people in a very unpretentious and earthy way. He felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived and a great rich life. [sic]
Griffith is also known for Mayberry RFD, and Matlock and for playing Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd.
Griffith is survived by his wife Cindi and daughter Dixie.
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